CAPE TOWN - Environmental activists protested at the V&A Waterfront against the arrival of the Amazon Warrior ship in Cape Town on Sunday morning.
The ship has been commissioned by Shell to conduct a seismic survey in search of oil and gas deposits between Morgan’s Bay and Port St Johns off the Wild Coast, starting on December 1.
Some protesters, who had gathered from as early as 5.30am, even entered the water around the ship.
The survey area is located more than 20km from the coast in water depths ranging between 700 and 3 000m. The vessel is expected to drag up to 48 air guns methodically through 6 011km² of ocean surface, firing shock wave emissions.
It is anticipated that the seismic survey would take in the order of four to five months to complete, depending on weather and current conditions.
Vessels engaged in fishing have been requested to, so far as possible, keep out of the way of the seismic operation.
Activists say the high noise blasting of sonar canons under water for seismic testing is a direct threat to whales, dolphins, fish and marine life.
They also say it is a threat to the livelihood of communities along the Wild Coast who use the riches of the sea to put food on the table and provide an income for their homes.
More than 145 000 people have already signed a petition calling on the South African government to withdraw approval for the Shell initiative.
To sign the petition, visit: https://www.change.org/ShellOil-Off-Our-Coast
* Video compiled by Armand Hough